Please suggest on the book to follow

Alex Martelli aleaxit at
Thu Jan 27 19:09:57 CET 2005

<phr at localhost.localdomain> wrote:

> "santanu" <thisissantanu at> writes:
> > I know a little python (not the OOP part) learnt by studying the online
> > tutorial. Now I would like to learn it more thoroughly.
> I think there's supposed to be a new version of Python in a Nutshell

Just a 2nd edition.  I'm just starting to write it.  By the time it's
done and out in print, say six months if you're a VERY optimistic guy,
I'm pretty sure "santanu" will be an experienced Pythonista and quite
ready to take advantage, if he chooses, of the Nutshell's 2nd edition as
a convenient desktop reference, which is its main intended role.

> coming.  That's a more serious book than Learning Python.

Speaking as the author of the Nutshell, and a TR for Learning, I think
I'm reasonably unbiased (or, equally biased in favor of both;-), and I
don't think of Learning as ``less serious'' -- it does have a different
role, of course.

If a book whose title is "Learning X" (for any X) does its job well,
then when you're done with it you can probably put it aside -- as
Wittgenstein said of the learner, "he must so to speak throw away the
ladder, after he has climbed up on it".

A book that is meant mostly as a convenient reference, if _it_ does its
job, keeps being useful for a longer time.  On the other hand, using the
Nutshell for the purpose of learning Python, while certainly feasible if
you're well skilled in computer programming (in other languages), may
not be as easy as using "Learning Python" for that purpose!

All in all, while I'm of course gladder the more copies of the Nutshell
are sold, I still think that, for the _learning_ part, most people might
be better served by "Learning Python" -- or, for that matter, the
already recommended "Practical Python" (it has many significant
completely worked-out example programs -- I was a TR for it, too) or
"Dive into Python" (VERY fast and meant for already-experienced
programmers -- I wasn't a TR for it, but, my _wife_ was...;-)


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